Submitting a Section 8 application in Tennessee is the first step in the process of getting rental assistance. Overall, you can apply for Section 8 with any public housing agency (PHA) of your choosing. PHAs are responsible for administering rental assistance vouchers at the local level, while the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is in charge of funding this program.
Note that the Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA) handles the voucher program in the majority of counties throughout the state. Depending on where you seek assistance, you may undergo the application steps through the THDA or an independent PHA. It is possible to apply for help from more than one housing agency at a time. Read below to learn more about the low income housing application process and discover how to sign up for assistance.
When can I submit a Section 8 application in Tennessee?
You can only submit a HUD application in Tennessee when a PHA or the THDA is accepting new applicants. Because the demand for rental assistance is high, there are usually not enough vouchers available to help every eligible family at once.
To address this issue, PHAs may use waiting lists. When you sign up for Section 8, you will more than likely be placed onto a waiting list unless a housing authority can help you right away.
Note that these lists are frequently closed. A local PHA may stop accepting applicants when there are more families waiting to receive assistance than can be helped in the near future.
Housing authorities will announce when you can apply for low income housing by placing public notices in newspapers, online, on radio stations or through other media. It is important to look for these notifications if you are waiting to sign up.
Note that some wait lists can be closed for long periods of time. A housing authority can stop accepting applications for months or even years at a time.
To reduce your wait, you may consider submitting a Section 8 application form to more than one housing authority at a time. Any PHA may choose you for a voucher if you are eligible. Learn more about waiting lists by reading our detailed Section 8 guide here.
What documents do I need to apply for Section 8 in Tennessee?
When you submit a low income housing application in TN, you typically need to provide the PHA with documents that verify your eligibility. Certain housing agencies will want to check your qualifications before adding you to a waiting list. Other organizations only ask that you provide proof of your eligibility during the final stage of the application process.
In any case, a Tennessee HUD housing application will need to include proof of your identity, age, legal presence in the U.S., income and other eligibility factors. You should be prepared to verify these details for each member of your family. Documents that might satisfy these requirements include:
- Birth certificates
- Photo ID cards
- Social Security cards
- Immigration paperwork
- Bank statements or tax returns
- Pay stubs and benefit award letters
Tips for Completing the Tennessee Section 8 Housing Application
When you apply for Section 8 housing in TN, it is helpful to understand the factors that can affect your success. First, be mindful that most PHAs use local preferences to determine who can get assistance first or be placed higher on a waiting list. You might qualify for a local preference if you:
- Are a local resident.
- Are a veteran.
- Have a disability.
- Are a senior.
- Have been involuntarily displaced from home.
Secondly, it is crucial to make sure your Section 8 application is filled out correctly. In many cases, you only have a limited period of time in which to submit your form.
If your application is missing information or lacks the required signatures, it may lead to delays or even a denial of your form altogether. Make sure you answer every question to the best of your ability or write “N/A” in boxes that do not apply to your family.
If you plan on signing up for help with more than one organization, you cannot improve your chances by sending multiple forms to the same PHA. Sending more than one Section 8 housing application may result in a rejection even if you are eligible.
Understanding the Tennessee Section 8 Application Process
You can usually submit a Section 8 application online, in person or through the mail. Each PHA will have its own preferred method and application steps for you to follow.
How to Apply for Section 8 Online in Tennessee
If a PHA has a website, it may allow you to apply online. Note that application portals are usually only accessible when a waiting list is open.
Submitting an online application will usually require that you make an account. At the end of the process, you may receive a confirmation number, which should be saved for your records.
Note: You can always fill out Section 8 application online free of charge, due to the fact that it is illegal for anyone to make you pay a fee to apply for this program.
How to Submit the Tennessee Section 8 Housing Application in Person
To apply in person, contact your local PHA to learn about its policies and procedures. You may need to schedule an appointment or bring certain materials to the office before you can apply.
How to Apply for Section 8 Housing by Mail
In the event you are unable to make it to a housing authority office in person, you may be able to request a paper application in the mail. A PHA will usually have a specific mailing address for returning completed applications.
What happens after I apply for Section 8 in Tennessee?
After you apply for Section 8 housing in TN, you will typically be placed on a waiting list unless the PHA decides that you do not pass the initial eligibility check. While on a waiting list, it is crucial that you keep your information up-to-date. Changes to any of the following should be reported right away:
- Family composition
- Other eligibility factors
Upon being selected for a voucher, you may need to fill out a formal Section 8 application form and pass a final eligibility check. If approved, you will receive a voucher that allows you to start looking for housing.